Boys Play Dress Up

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

Sometimes I get annoyed with my mother in-law, but I have to say that she's really good at her job. She just always knows what to buy the kids for gifts. They go nuts over the stuff she buys them.

Not just at Halloween

One of the things Mom in-law does is buy up Halloween costumes and makeup as soon as Halloween is over. The sales are fantastic, and kids like to dress up all year, not just at Halloween. Last time around, Mom bought the youngest three boys some Power Ranger costumes as well as a Spider Man costume.

Better than anything on TV

On rainy days, my boys like nothing better than to dress up and act out scenarios, complete with sound effects and awesome spinning jumps and leaps. They take so much pleasure in this kind of play and never seem to tire of the game, or run out of creative storylines for their playacting. The truth is I like to take a break from my housework to sit around and watch them. They're better than anything on TV, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm no psychologist, I'm a mother just like other mothers, but it's obvious to me that dressing up helps children get under the skin of the characters they portray. To us, the fabric of these store-bought costumes is sleazy, the colors lurid. But where you see sleaze, your kids see bright and shiny.

This past Halloween, my two little guys, aged nine and seven, dressed up as Puss in Boots and Zoro. The minute I was ready to take some photos, they segued into fencing poses, feinting with their toy swords. Every time I snapped a photo, the two switched their poses in tandem. It was so smooth it was as if they had practiced. I had only thought to take a few poses, but I found myself getting into it, and must have snapped 20 photos or so. I felt like a fashion photographer.

Playing a cartoon hero empowers your child. He feels ten feet tall when acting the role of a favorite action figure. The more he plays the more he gets a boost to his self-confidence. When he playacts, he shows you who he wants to be most and this has a lot to do with his values. He wants to be brave, he wants to be a leader, he wants to have amazing powers, and he wants to help people. Sounds to me like something that should be encouraged.